13 April 2007
It is snowing, it is snowing on Longyearbyen and this gloomy weather resembles our mood. The bureaucratic problems are getting solved and the air dropping of equipment necessary to enlarge the runway seems to take shape.
Yet, things appear to go so slowly when we are so close to our goal. Life is organising itself. On board, the crew is arranging the runway as best as possible and moving the kerosene drums towards the take-off area.
The remaining crew that must leave the boat is counting the minutes but the DC3 pilots want the ice mounds that are at each end of the runway to be removed and this cannot be done manually.
The runway crosses an ice reef that was pierced by the little bulldozer, and it is the ice of this reef that is hampering the pilots.
It is snowing and the snow is arresting time. Everything is at a standstill; the DC3 is covered with a white sheet.
Romain contacts Tara : We hear Grant’s voice telling us about the weather back there, the ice, the drums that need to be moved, the search for a space that would be easier to turn into a runway of 1 kilometer long.
All resources are mobilised toward a single goal: to have the DC3 land.
Romain is working on his tenth flight load plan. The boxes and equipment are lined up in the shed, each row corresponds to a flight.
Things are more complicated for the passengers because time is not extensible, the last flight will take place on the 29th of April and this delay causes a serious logistic problem.
One cannot catch up on lost time. Some of the passengers will not be able to fly toward TARA. Pilots leave to check on their plane, Michaël and Arnaud are filming the scenes of the life of the team at Svalbard, some are going on a stroll in town and Hélène is cooking a meal.
On Thursday, Jean-Claude Gascard, Christian de Marliave and scientists have arrived. Hotels in Longyearbyen are complete.
A sunray is piercing accross the snow. The beautiful red plane with a white belly seems ready to take off”. “